In the 1980s, America's economic dynamics -- and incentives -- changed. By 1986, the tax rate on top-bracket income had sunk to 28 percent. America's wealthiest now had opportunities to become wealthier than they had ever imagined. They rushed to seize those opportunities by any means necessary.
Those means eventually did Toys "R" us in. In 2005, private equity speculators bought the company and loaded it up with debt. Along the way, they extracted $470 million in fees. Last September, Toys "R" Us filed for bankruptcy. Now the company is closing its stores.
And Charles Lazarus? The 94-year-old died March 22, one week after the Toys "R" Us shutdown announcement.